Questions continue to swirl around Prince Andrew's relationship with convicted sex offender and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, and The Daily Mirror reports that the spotlight is causing distress to Queen Elizabeth. Epstein, who allegedly committed suicide early in August, had a friendship with Andrew, and early last week, a new photo surfaced of the pair partying with Donald Trump.
"The Epstein affair is bringing a more lasting whiff of scandal to the monarchy," an insider reportedly said.
"You've got a serious crime linked to the kind of behaviour towards women that people feel particularly strongly about at the moment," said another. "Andrew's association with [Epstein] is deeply damaging and he needs to deal with it."
Whether Andrew wants to address his relationship or not might not be his decision, as U.S. lawyers have reportedly threatened legal action against him to force him to testify under oath. According to Virginia Roberts, Epstein lent her out to Andrew for sex on three occasions: in London, Palm Beach, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"He knows what he's done," she said following a court hearing in New York last week. "I hope he comes clean about it."
The Inquisitr previously reported that Andrew released a statement last weekend in which he claims he never saw or knew anything about Epstein that indicated he was running a sex trafficking ring. He also condemned the "exploitation of any human being" and said that he would not "condone, participate in, or encourage" this kind of behavior.In addition, a representative of Buckingham Palace released a separate statement that said Andrew only visited Epstein once after the disgraced financier's 2008 conviction and jail sentence. However, Andrew reportedly arranged for Epstein to pay down his debts to his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, around the time of Epstein's conviction, which raises questions as to whether he was still in touch with Epstein despite not visiting him.
Andrew isn't the only prominent figure that has been linked to Epstein. In addition to Trump, he has been known for his relationships to former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former British Cabinet minister Peter Mandelson. Per The Inquisitr, pictures recently surfaced of Mandelson with Epstein shopping in the Caribbean at the luxury resort island of St. Barts.
According to The Independent, Roberts spoke about Mandelson and claimed that she was introduced to him at one of Epstein's famous parties at his New York townhome.
"I never heard of Jeffrey knowing Tony Blair, but he did know Peter Mandelson," she said.